WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), after being essentially tongue-lashed on television Thursday, attempted to backpedal on his use of the words “violent terrorist attack” in regards to his description of the infamous January 6, 2021 riots by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson had taken exception with Cruz – who was a guest on his show – describing the January 6 riots as “a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol” when speaking on the incident’s anniversary earlier this week, and constantly derided the Texas senator’s attempts to explain away and walk back his comments.
Cruz said that his decision to use the phrase “terrorist” was “sloppy” and “frankly dumb,” an excuse that Carlson refused to accept, with the controversial Fox News host alleging that the riots were not terrorism.
“You never use words carelessly, and yet you called this a ‘terror attack,’ when by no definition was it a terror attack, that’s a lie,” Carlson said. “You told that lie on purpose, and I’m wondering why you did.”
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Seemingly backed into a corner, Cruz – had previously referred to the January 6 riots as a “despicable act of terrorism” last year as well – again attempted to defend his choice of words to Carlson and his viewers.
“What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers. I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail,” Cruz said. “I wasn’t saying the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn’t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting Trump are terrorists.”
“What you just said doesn’t make sense,” Carlson responded, and brought up that Cruz had been one of the Republican senators who had contested the victory of Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.
“So of course, it would be ridiculous for me to be saying that the people standing up and protesting to follow the law were somehow terrorists. I was talking about people who commit violence against cops,” Cruz responded. “That being said, Tucker, I agree with you. It was a mistake to say that yesterday, and the reason is what you just said, which is we have now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists. Trying to say you are a terrorist, I am a terrorist.”
The two men continued to debate the issue for several minutes, with Carlson at one point cutting off Cruz’s repeated attempts at backpedaling by blatantly calling him a liar to his face.
“I guess I just don’t believe you. And I mean that with respect,” Carlson said.